The Popcorn Periodical
It’s a crazy rich opening weekend for “Crazy Rich Asians”
Crazy Rich Asians had a stellar opening week, snatching the top spot at the domestic box office! The posh comedy grossed an impressive $34 million in its opening weekend, knocking The Meg down a peg to number two (with just over $21 million). The top two movies in North America are not only fun summer blockbusters, they’re crazy rich with Asian talent! Even before Crazy Rich Asians’ striking debut, entertainment media was abuzz, and immediately after the trailer was released, Crazy Rich Asians lept to the top of everyone’s watch-list. It was also quick to adopt online nicknames like “The Asian Black Panther,” which gave it an instant position of power and responsibility. The comparison relates to the representation of minority actors and characters in a film, likening Crazy Rich Asians’ current moment of representation in American film history to February 2018’s Black Panther.
In Hollywood, Black and Asian actors (and all minorities, quite honestly) are subjected to typecasting; seeing a movie like Crazy Rich Asians come into fruition means a lot of things to a lot of people. To me, it’s a glimmer of hope for a truly diverse Hollywood. In 2018, we’re finally seeing another big-budget motion picture starring an entirely Asian cast produced by an American studio (Warner Bros.) – Crazy Rich Asians is the first all-Asian Hollywood film in a quarter of a century! It’s been since 1993’s Joy Luck Club… Hopefully, this overwhelmingly warm reception proves that diversity in big-budget movies is not only a better reflection of the world we live in, it is in high demand. Well-intentioned, authentic portrayals of minorities in television and film go a long way. Movie executives, take note! Crazy Rich Asians is crazy popular!
Based on a best-selling novel (of the same name), Crazy Rich Asians was written by Singaporean-American writer Ken Kwan. The book was first published in 2013 and its success lead Kwan to write two follow-up novels: China Rich Girlfriend (2015), and Rich People Problems (2017), both of which could see a silver screen adaptation in the future, considering how well Crazy Rich Asians is already doing. While the film subtly veers away from the book, the satirical aspects and overall heart of the story remain solid. And it captures the wonder of Singapore like a dream vacation! The luxury, fashion, architecture, cultural traditions, history, food..the list goes on and on! Singapore is so magnificent-looking onscreen (the aerial shots are jaw-dropping and the filming locations explode with tropical foliage and expensive taste) that it will probably boost tourism. It’s that impressive!
For anyone who’s unaware of how Singapore became a playground for the rich, there’s a comical yet educational scene explaining it’s history (using a printed map of Asia adorning the side of a crazy-expensive luxury brand handbag). In short, there is both new and old money in Singapore, and all the old money mostly comes from China. The crazy rich (Chinese) Asians literally transformed the tropical island into a metropolitan real-estate haven. That being said, it’s unfortunate how poorly represented Singaporeans are in this movie. Anyone with darker skin is only seen in the background, mostly as servants. Perhaps this depiction of Singapore (where native Singaporeans are pushed out by rich East Asians or hired solely as “the help”) is a realistic one? Art does imitate life. Even if those depictions are disappointing. Still, it would have been the cherry on top of an already monumental movie to depict native Singaporeans as more than just luggage carriers and housemaids.
As glitzy and glamorous as Singapore appears, it’s the onslaught of talent in Crazy Rich Asians that shine even brighter than the city. From lead actors Constance Wu (TV’s Fresh Off The Boat) as Rachel Chu, and Henry Goulding (TV’s The Bachelorette) in his motion picture debut as Nick Young, to the legendary Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) as Nick’s docile yet humbling mother, Eleanor Young, there is absolutely no shortage of impressively hilarious and heartwarming performances. Henry Goulding is especially striking on the big screen, proving with every scene that he is so much more than a ridiculously attractive candidate on a reality TV dating show. He’s got natural talent.
The overall plot of the film is endearing, funny, eventful (to say the least), and relatable, regardless of your race or culture. It’s a story about love, and it reminded me of a classic Disney fairytale, only in this far away land, the Princess and the Prince are both main characters. Nick and Rachel embark on a romantic adventure together. They even have their own quirky sidekicks! Ken Jeong (The Hangover) is hysterical as Wye Mun Gohl, Nico Santos (TV’s Superstore) is vivaciously witty as Oliver T’sien, Gemma Chan (Mary Queen of Scots) is gorgeous and empowering as Astrid Young Teo, Chris Pang (TV’s Marco Polo) is dashing as Colin Khoo, and Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8) nearly steals the entire show as Peik Lin Goh! She is laugh-out-loud funny! If you’re looking for a crazy fun time to break up your crazy busy work week, Crazy Rich Asians will make you laugh, cry, and remind you just how precious true unadulterated love is. No matter where you come from.
“The only thing crazier than love is family.”
TIP: Sonoya Mizuno as Araminta Lee serves up of the most iconic walks down any wedding aisle, ever! WOW!
4 Popcorn Kernels / 5
Watch the trailer:
About the Author
Joey Viola is the Co-Founder of MoJo Toronto and an LGBTQ community leader who utilizes his passion and flair for the art of writing by bringing a fresh perspective in reviewing entertainment and advocating for equality, tolerance, and social/political justice.